Sony G Master Lens Field Test: FE 24-70mm F2.8 & 85mm F1.4 GM

Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 and 85mm F1.4 G Master Lenses

Sony launches their new ultra-premium flagship G Master lens line-up with three FE lenses that many Sony a7-series camera users loudly requested:

Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 G Master Lens – Pre-Order Now for $2,199 USD
Sony FE 85mm F1.4 G Master Lens – Pre-Order Now for $1,799 USD
Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 G Master Lens – Available in May 2016 (Price TBD)

I can finally say it. They are real and they are SPECTACULAR!

In the past, there was always a trade-off between sharpness and bokeh. You could get one or the other – but not both. Sony G Master lenses are designed to combine both the ultimate in sharpness with spectacular bokeh.

XA Extreme Aspherical Lens Elements are designed to resolve an industry-best 50 line pairs per mm and with surface polished within tolerances of 0.01 microns for extremely smooth falloff in out-of-focus areas.

These lenses look and feel SOLID just as you’d expect from a top-end pro lenses. Mirrorless camera design has allowed Sony’s lens designers to place larger than normal lens elements closer to the body for better optical performance than possible with a DSLR with a mirror box. This also improves the camera-lens balance placing the heft of the lens right in the palm of your hand.

Ok, that’s enough tech. The fun is in shooting. So, last week I headed to New Orleans to put Sony’s FE 24-70mm F2.8 G Master and FE 85mm F1.4 G Master lenses to the test. Here are the shots…

Armstrong Park New Orleans Jazz Brass Band shot with Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM lens
Benny Jones, Sr. of the Treme Brass Band
Sony a7RII + FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master at 24mm • 1/10 sec • F8 • ISO 100

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, New Orleans shot with Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM lens
Lafayette Cemetery No. 1
Sony a7RII + FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master at 26mm • 1/160 sec • F11 • ISO 100

Big Chief Kevin Goodman of the Flaming Arrows photographed with Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM lens
Big Chief Kevin Goodman of the Flaming Arrows
Sony a7RII + FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master at 35mm & 70mm • 1/640 sec • F4 • ISO 100

James Southern on his porch in Houma, Louisiana shot with FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master lens
James Southern on his porch in Houma, Louisiana
Sony a7RII + FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master at 24mm • 1/200 sec • F4.5 • ISO 100

House in Houma, Louisiana shot with FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master lens
Sony a7RII + FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master at 24mm • 1/100 sec • F9 • ISO 100

New Orleans, Louisiana cemetery shot with Sony FE 85mm F1.4 G Master lens
Sony a7RIISony FE 85mm F1.4 G Master • 1/200 sec • F7.1 • ISO 100

Antique Car in French Quarter, New Orleans shot with FE 24-70 F2.8 GM lens
Sony a7RII + FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master at 31mm • 1/2 sec • F8 • ISO 100

Sony FE lens review New Orleans, Louisiana
Sony a7RII + FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master at 35mm • 1/125 sec • F13 • ISO 100

Sony FE lens review New Orleans, Louisiana
Sony a7RII + FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master at 38mm • 1/80 sec • F5 • ISO 100

Sony FE lens review New Orleans, Louisiana
Sony a7RII + FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master at 35mm • 1/80 sec • F11 • ISO 100

Sony FE lens review New Orleans, Louisiana
Sony a7RII + Sony FE 85mm F1.4 G Master • 1/125 sec • F4.5 • ISO 100

Sony FE lens review New Orleans, Louisiana
Sony a7RII + FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master at 28mm • 1/125 sec • F11 • ISO 100

Sony FE lens review New Orleans, Louisiana
Sony a7RII + FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master at 27mm • 1/500 sec • F8 • ISO 100

Sony FE lens review New Orleans, Louisiana
Sony a7RII + FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master at 24mm • 1/160 sec • F5.6 • ISO 100

Chef Elray Holmes at Kermit's Treme Mother-in-Law Lounge shot with Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM lens
Chef Elray Holmes at Kermit’s Treme Mother-in-Law Lounge
Sony a7RII + FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master at 26mm • 1/125 sec • F9 • ISO 100

Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM smooth bokeh and out-of-focus highlights at F1.4
Here’s the smooth bokeh and out-of-focus highlights at F1.4
Sony a7RIISony FE 85mm F1.4 G Master • 1/160 sec • F1.4 • ISO 400

Krewe of Chewbacchus at Mardi Gras, New Orleans shot with Sony FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master
Krewe of Chewbacchus | Mardi Gras New Orleans
Sony a7RII + FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master at 24mm • 1/200 sec • F2.8 • ISO 6400

Krewe of Chewbacchus at Mardi Gras, New Orleans shot with Sony FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master lens
Krewe of Chewbacchus | Mardi Gras New Orleans
Sony a7RII + FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master at 38mm • 1/640 sec • F2.8 • ISO 6400

Krewe of Chewbacchus at Mardi Gras, New Orleans shot with Sony FE 24-70 F2.8 GM lens
Krewe of Chewbacchus | Mardi Gras New Orleans
Sony a7RII + FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master at 40mm • 1/320 sec • F2.8 • ISO 6400

Krewe of Chewbacchus at Mardi Gras, New Orleans photographed with Sony FE 24-70 F2.8 GM lens
Krewe of Chewbacchus | Mardi Gras New Orleans
Sony a7RII + FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master at 28mm • 1/80 sec • F2.8 • ISO 6400

Krewe of Chewbacchus at Mardi Gras, New Orleans shot with Sony FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master
Krewe of Chewbacchus | Mardi Gras New Orleans
Sony a7RII + FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master at 24mm • 1/200 sec • F2.8 • ISO 6400

Parade in New Orleans, Louisana shot with Sony FE 85mm F1.4 G Master
Sony a7RIISony FE 85mm F1.4 G Master • 1/640 sec • F1.4 • ISO 100

100% Crop showing the sharpness and shallow depth of field at F1.4
100% Crop of the photo above showing the sharpness and shallow depth of field at F1.4

Krewe of Barkus, Mardi Gras New Orleans, Sony FE lens field test review in New Orleans
Krewe of Barkus | Mardi Gras New Orleans
Sony a7RII + FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master at 70mm • 1/200 sec • F2.8 • ISO 100

Krewe of Barkus at Mardi Gras New Orleans
Krewe of Barkus | Mardi Gras New Orleans
Sony a7RII + FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master at 70mm • 1/200 sec • F2.8 • ISO 100

Sample image from Sony FE 24-70mm GM lens in New Orleans
Krewe of Barkus | Mardi Gras New Orleans
Sony a7RII + FE 24-70 F2.8 G Master at 70mm • 1/200 sec • F2.8 • ISO 100

If you’ve been patiently (or impatiently) waiting for these lenses, you wait is nearly over and in my opinion they are well worth the wait.

• Order Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master Lens from B&H Photo | Amazon
• Order Sony FE 85mm F1.4 G Master Lens from B&H Photo | Amazon
• Order Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens from B&H Photo | Amazon
• Order Sony FE 1.4X Teleconverter from B&H Photo | Amazon
• Order Sony FE 2X Teleconverter from B&H Photo | Amazon


Sony-a7-Snapshots-bookFor more tips and tricks about getting the most out of your Sony a7 series camera, check out my book ‘Sony a7-Series: From Snapshots to Great Shots’. It’s your guide to all of the Sony a7 Series I & II cameras. While the camera manual explains what the camera can do, it doesn’t show how to use the camera to create great images! Starting with the Top Ten things users need to know about the cameras, author Brian Smith, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer and Sony Artisan of Imagery, carefully guides you through the operating features of Sony a7, a7R, a7S, a7II and a7RII and how to use them. Get practical advice from a pro on which settings to use when, great shooting tips, and assignments at end of chapter to practice what you’ve just learned.

‘Sony A7 Series: From Snapshots to Great Shots’ is available NOW from Amazon

ORDER NOW



Save $150 Today on Sigma FE 45mm F2.8 DG DN Contemporary Lens

Sigma FE 45mm F2.8 DG DN Contemporary Lens | List Price $549 | Save $150 | Today Only $399 ORDER NOW Deal Ends 11:59pm September

Read More »

Sony Visual Story 2.0 App Adds Compatibility with Video Content

Updated Visual Story App Version 2.0 Now Supports Video in the Story Gallery and Offers Improved Connectivity and Usability for Professional Event Photographers and Videographers

Read More »

Venus Optics Announces Laowa Argus 35mm f/0.95 FF Full Frame E-mount Lens

Venus Optics announces the Laowa Argus 35mm f/0.95 FF Full Frame E-mount Lens – the world’s fastest 35mm lens and widest f/0.95 lens ever designed

Read More »

54 thoughts on “Sony G Master Lens Field Test: FE 24-70mm F2.8 & 85mm F1.4 GM”

  1. What a great image with great quality! This is really great news. Now we can shoot almost any photo session with a7 series. Great for my shoulder, I am very happy:)

  2. Great images that hint at what these images are really capable of.. Although that Portrait in the cemetary suggests that body is due a sensor clean.. makes me feel better that it happens to the best of the pros too 🙂

      1. Brian,
        Thanks for your clarification. If Sony doesn’t come out with a full frame e-mount lens with a longer reach, it looks like there may be a surge in the sales of used 70-200mm f4 lenses for those who are desperate for a wildlife lens.

  3. Pingback: Brian Smith Field Tests The New G Master Lenses In New Orleans – Photohangout

  4. Pingback: Brian Smith Field Tests The New G Master Lenses In New Orleans – Photohangout

  5. Nice work Brian, you rep Sony well. I have one question. Does the 24-70 f2.8 G Master have the same plastic exterior of the 24-70 2.8 Zeiss A-Mount? It was something that always bugged me about that lens given it’s price as it scuffed easily.

  6. Loving my home state in these great photos, Brian! Gosh, I THINK I might receive my October order for the Batis 85 this weekend and just cringed when I saw yesterday’s announcement. I’m sure I’ll be good either way – Batis 1.8 or the G baby 1.4.

  7. Pingback: Sony A6300 en FE 24-70/2.8, 70-200/2.8 en 85/1.4 aangekondigd

    1. The bokeh looks pretty smooth to me but I suppose its a matter of taste. As for noise that was shot at IS0 6400 with only the lights inside the helmet to illuminate the face.

  8. Pingback: G Master Lenses – What’s Inside & First Impressions – Photohangout

  9. Pingback: Sony G Master Lenses Available for Pre-Order Now!

  10. These are wonderful – thx! All your 24-70 shots at f2.8 are either at night at 6400 ISO or of … dogs. 🙁 Any chance you took any 24-70 at f2.8 of people at a low ISO, so we can see how those look?

  11. Hey Brian,
    I actually saw you clicking away during barkus, or its someone else testing the new lenses. Anyway, I wanted to know is the price tag for the 85mm 1.4 justified when compared to the Batis 85mm? I realize that its 1.4 vs 1.8, but is it worth the extra 600 to go to 1.4?

  12. Pingback: Burj Khalifa shot with Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 G Master Lens

    1. Distortion is about the lowest criteria of lens design these days as it’s easily corrected by applying the lens correction profile either in-camera or in post. Corner-to-corner sharpness and the “look” of the lens can’t be fixed so easily.

      1. Distortion correction results in stretched pixels which lowers clarity and some loss of the edges. The more distortion there is to correct, the higher the image degrades. Such is the case with the f/4. I’m surprised and disappointed that a Sony Artisan had the “just fix it in post” mentality. It should not be a crutch for good lens design. I will have to test it for myself.

        1. You are confused about what causes un-sharp edges. They are not caused by applying lens profile corrections. Aside from Zeiss Otus (which does not make a zoom) every modern lens I’ve tested benefits from some degree of lens profile corrections – particularly zooms. Lenses that are un-sharp at corners cannot be improved with lens profile corrections – distortion can.

  13. I never said lens profile correction caused un-sharp edges. I was talking about overall image clarity with the pixel stretching. Bad edges are by the lens design from the start. I don’t understand what you meant by distortion can improve un-sharp corners. Also what are you’re thoughts on the FE 24-70 F4 distortion?

  14. Hi Brian,

    Thank you for the reviews! I am traveling to Europe, and I’m trying to decide between the 24-70 f2.8 G or 16-70 f4 zeiss. I want to purchase one of these to take with me along with the 55 f1.8 prime. I’m shooting on the A7II. Just curious what you’re thoughts would be?

  15. Pingback: New Sony FE GM image samples and MTF charts. Is Sony Finally a ‘Pro option?’ | sonyalpharumors

  16. Great pictures!

    How do you feel the GM 24-70 compares to the Batis 25mm? Pretty similar?
    Canadian prices are supposedly going up in April so I’m totally in a toss up between the Batis 25/2mm + Zony 55/1.8 or ordering the 24-70 GM for approximately the same money.
    What are your feelings regarding this choice?

  17. Brian,
    Am going for an a6300.
    I love my 24-70mm F4 it is normally “glued” on to my a7RII as it does most everything I need, then I use one of my primes or the 70-200mm F4. Basically I took up on most of your advice, when I got my a7RII for lenses (even got your ebook).
    Feel like getting the 24-70mm F2.8 GM to go on my a7RII as it has not OIS and the body has IBIS, so that should work well.
    Then use the 24-70mm F4 on my (soon-as-I-get-it) a6300.
    Is this a totally crazy idea, what are you going to use on your a6300 (when-you-get-it?)
    I have used most of my FE mount lenses on my a6000 and find it fun.
    Thank you,
    Russ

  18. Hi Brian. Does the 24-70 G Master barrel extend during zoom, or during focusing, or is it all internal? I could not find this information anywhere. Also, I presume the front element does not rotate during focusing. Thanks in advance for any info. Best regards, Henry

  19. The 24-70 f2.8 was the lens I was waiting for before switching to the A7rII. These pictures prove that it was worth waiting for…

  20. Hey Brian, I used to use a Canon DSLR with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM ]and Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lenses for motion (50%) and still (50%) pictures (videos at 1080p 24fps usually, and photos not necessarily at high formats). Now I finally have the chance to upgrade not to a DSLR but to a mirrorless. So, after debating in my head either to go with the a7r ii or a7s ii, I’ve kind of settled on going with a7s II (but still not entirely sure and want advice from you on this as well). Also, with whatever body I get, I was wondering what lenses to get Specifically:Sony G Master 24-70mm f/2.8 vs Zeiss EF 24-70mm f/4. What clear pros and cons are there for video/photo in your opinion? I’m used to the bulkiness of 24-105 L, but how was your experience of having that same big size lens on a small mirrorless body? Sorry about this long series of questions, and thank you so much!

  21. Thanks Brian – good review. For some reason the custom key I established for eye autofocus (AEL Button) on my Sony a7rII no longer activates that feature when using the Sony 24-70 2.8 GM lens regardless of what focus mode I’m using. Is it still possible to activate eye autofocus using custom key setting in camera or do you have to do a custom setting to use the focus hold button on the lens to activate that feature? Any tips on setting either options for this lens?

  22. Hi Brian,

    great to hear from you on the comments on 85mm F1.4.

    I have recently purchased this lens and surprisingly that the Eye – AF or AF-eye mode doesn’t responded when I paired it off with Sony A7r2. wondering why? the AF eye in the menu are not brightened up.. no response to activate it..

    will appreciate and look forward to hear from you for advice. thanks

  23. hi, it might be a silly question but i am new to photography and i bought this sony fe 2.8/90 macro g oss lens. i have been experimenting around. I would like to know how to use the g master button on the lens.
    TIA
    Ismail

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *